A summary of the results of the New Jersey Student Learning Assessment were presented to the Board of Education last night. In good news for students, parents, and educators across the district, average scores increased compared to last year. However, the overall scores were below the overall state proficiency rates.

The assessment was administered at the end of the last school year in the subjects of English language arts (ELA), math, and science. The ELA tests are administered to all students in grades 3-9, while math is given to all students in grades 3-8 and algebra and geometry in high school. Meanwhile, science is only administered to grades 5, 8, and 11.

In ELA, 44% of test takers scored either Exceeded Expectations or Met Expectations. Both scores increased compared to last year. These scores met the district’s stated goal of increasing scores in the higher tiers and lowering scores in the Approached Expectations, Partially Met Expectations, and Did Not Yet Meet Expectations categories.

Grade 7 was the highest performing grade for ELA across the district, while 4 out of 6 grade levels saw an increase in scores from the previous year. Overall, 81.2% of students either improved or remained at their previous performance level.

In math, 27.7% of students scored either Exceeded Expectations or Met Expectations, both increases from last year’s scores. Approached Expectations scores also increased, but Partially Met Expectations and Did Not Yet Meet Expectations scores decreased.

The geometry test had the highest rate of Meeting or Exceeding Expectations and was the only test that performed above the state proficiency rate. Overall, 79.3% of test takers either increased or remained at their previous performance level.

In science, 4.7% of students scored Advanced Proficient, 12.5% scored Proficient, 29.8% scored Near Proficient, and 53% scored Below Proficient. Since the science test is only administered to fifth, eighth, and eleventh grades, there is no year-to-year comparison available for individual student performances.

All three tested grade levels scored below the state proficiency rate. Compared to the scores from last year, Below Proficient scores decreased, while the other three categories increased.

In addressing what steps the district will take over this school year, Superintendent Norma Fernandez highlighted a variety of educational initiatives, professional development opportunities, and interventions to address any issues at their core. She emphasized the importance of using students’ foundational years to build skills from the beginning, “not waiting until they need remediation,” which will increase their academic success and workforce readiness in the future.

Ryan Kilkenny was born and raised in New York. He graduated with a BS from Tulane University and a JD from Rutgers Law School. Ryan worked as an attorney for almost two years before switching careers and...